WHILE businesses in Nundle are concerned about the impact the proposed $600-million wind farm will have on tourism, the Hanging Rock community is weighing up the potential jobs.
The development would create 270 jobs during its 18 to 24 month construction phase, with a further 34 ongoing jobs to operate and maintain the wind farm.
Fifth-generation Hanging Rock resident Luke Brand is an engineer by trade and only gets to spend weekends in the town, because he commutes to Sydney for work.
“It’s difficult to find good, steady, ongoing work in this area and its surrounds,” he said.
“It’s not every day that a $600 million development lands on your back door.
“It’ll bring a lot of construction work, along with a lot of long-term well-paying jobs – 32 jobs spread across Nundle and Hanging Rock would be an extraordinary opportunity for our two towns.”
Mr Brand urged Nundle businesses to consider more than just the potential tourism impacts.
“I would welcome the long-term economic benefits of substantial employment – tourism ebbs and flows, but the stable employment will be around for decades,” he said.
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Bruce Moore lives on a property 20km out of Hanging Rock, and installed his own 50m-tall wind turbine nine years ago.
He sought to ease some of the common concerns being raised.
“In nine years, we’ve not found one dead bird or bat,” Mr Moore said.
“It’s 80 metres from by bedroom window, and it has no noise impact.”
Mr Moore said while a “small nucleus” of Nundle residents had already voted against the project, the community had a responsibility to closely consider it from both sides.
“I would encourage people to look at the positives, rather than just the negatives,” he said.
“The traffic flow through Hanging Rock will change the daily routine of the community, but if the road gets upgraded as a result, there’s the positive.
“Nundle businesses are worried about tourism, but if they get on the front foot and explore all the avenues, it could have a positive tourism impact.”
Gerry Chan has lived in Hanging Rock with his wife for 17 years.
“It’s God’s country – but we don’t want everyone to know that,” he said, laughing.
“For myself personally, I see the wind farm’s positives outweighing the negatives.”
“With renewable energy, we're doing our little bit to leave this planet a bit clean than it is at the moment.”